We would very much like to purchase this breed but understand that cancer is quite prevelant - what would I ask a breeder & how do I know that they are telling the truth anyway? Is this breed hard to come by?
First off, make sure you get your dog from a breeder who's dogs come with a written health guarantee contract. This will give you either the option of getting a refund on the price you paid for the puppy, or possibly getting a puppy in the next litter should any hereditary health problems come up. Also, make sure that you ask about the general health of their dogs, have they ever had problem with cancer in their lines? As if you can contact other people who have some of their puppies. If you ever encounter a breeder that says "My dogs have no health problems", walk away. Responsible breeders are more than willing to talk with you about the problems and concerns of health issues with their breed of dog. Also, make sure that the puppies sire and dam have had health testing done, especially thyroid, OFA and CERF. I'm not sure there's cancer test unfortunately.
remember that cancer can appear in any dog regaurdless of breed or bloodline. It is just like in humans, it is a mutation of a gene. Yes, if a breeder has noticed that their offspring have a more than one or 2 pups in the past 3 years have cancer it could be an inhereited gene, but if not then it is like a human, it can happen to anyone. Also if you have a male that has a "RETRACTED TESTICLE" have it removed, BEFORE the dog is a year old. that can cause a very rapid spreading cancer.
some cancers are inherited, some aren't. flat coats do have cancer in their breed, many only live to be about 8 years or a little more. i don't know where you live but in my area is someone who has been involved with flat coats for years; she may be able to give you some guidance if you want her name to write to or call.